Los Angeles, Calif. - Image Metrics, a provider of
facial animation technology and services for the entertainment
industry, has provided facial animation for many cut scenes in the
highly anticipated action adventure video game Assassin’s Creed II.
Developed by Ubisoft Montreal, Assassin’s Creed II is Ubisoft’s sequel
to the 2007 debut title that became the fastest-selling new IP in video
game history. Set in an all new era, the Renaissance, Assassin’s Creed
II features a new hero, Ezio Auditore da Firenze, a young Italian noble
out to protect his dynasty from the power hungry, bloodthirsty Knights
Templar. The project marks Image Metrics’ first title with Ubisoft.
“One of the most anticipated games of the year, Assassin’s Creed is renowned for its stunning art design and rich graphics,” says Brian Waddle, executive vice president of Image Metrics. “Image Metrics is honored to have used our facial animation technology to help Ubisoft enhance the sequel even further through compelling cinematics that feature emotionally engaging characters.”
While Ezio’s identity is shrouded in a hood to avoid detection, Ubisoft wanted to develop believable facial animation for key supporting characters in the game, including fellow assassins, priests, ladies and artists – and worked with Image Metrics for many of these characters. Using performance capture and character rigs provided by Ubisoft Montreal, Image Metrics optimized the rigs and used character specific reference data to deliver 28 minutes of facial animation for 23 different characters in the game. The animation was completed within about eight weeks thanks to Image Metrics’ proprietary facial animation and rigging technology.
“With their track record, solid technology and very good service, Image Metrics quickly became our first choice for a facial animation partner for Assassin’s Creed II,” says Jean-Francois Boivin, production manager, Missions and Cinematics. “Timing was also crucial to the project. We had to deliver over two hours of cinematics, including 30 minutes of facial close-ups, within tight deadlines. Image Metrics was able to produce the quality and quantity of facial animationAssassin’s Creed II demanded in the short timeframe we had for the project.”
Set in the beautiful yet brutal backdrop of Renaissance Italy, young Italian noble Ezio tackles corruption, greed, conspiracy and murder as he seeks vengeance and lusts after love in Assassin’s Creed II. The game features sophisticated combat systems and a host of new mission types to challenge both fans of the first installment and new players alike. With nonlinear gameplay, players will be able to perform missions at any point in the game. The open-world adventure brings back free running and adds elements such as swimming and flying to the game. Dynamic new characters can either provide opportunities for rewards or lead to surprising consequences.
Assassin’s Creed II was released November 17, 2009 for PlayStation3 and the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system from Microsoft.